STORRS, Conn. -- Quinnipiac wanted to show everyone that last year's run to the Sweet 16 wasn't a fluke.
Jen Fay led a balanced attack with 19 points and the ninth-seeded Bobcats beat Miami 86-72 on Saturday, eliminating the Hurricanes from the women's NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season.
Paula Strautmane had 15 points. Edel Thornton and Carly Fabbri each added 14 for Quinnipiac (28-5), which extended its winning streak to 23 games, a new school record.
"They love this stage," said coach Tricia Fabbri. "They want to be in March. They want to be winning games in March."
Next up for the Bobcats is top-seed UConn.
Erykah Davenport led all scorers with 21 points for Miami. Emese Hof scored 16 and freshman Endia Banks added 15 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort. The eighth seed finishes its season at 21-11.
Miami led by three points after the first quarter, 35-32 at the half and 54-53 after the third.
"Just a disastrous fourth quarter for us," said Miami coach Katie Meier. "We really lacked the discipline we played with for the first three quarters."
A 3-pointer by QU's Brittany Martin and a traditional 3-point play by Edel Thornton, who put head down and banked in a shot through the contact with Davenport, sparked a 15-1 fourth-quarter Quinnipiac run. That gave the Bobcats a 74-61 lead and control of the game.
"I just wanted to win," said Thornton. "I feel like the will to win made me do it."
It was also a switch in strategy. The Bobcats went from a motion offense to their "Cat Set" a more running, penetrating style that led to the Bobcats getting some easy buckets, fouls and several key offensive rebounds.
"We set them up, what we were running for three quarters," Fabbri said. "And then that total change in offensive flow and direction, just set them up that they were on their heels and we were able to go forward and really separate ourselves from that point forward in the fourth quarter."
A 3-pointer by Fabbri, daughter of coach Tricia Fabbri, made it 80-65 with less than two minutes to go, securing the win in front of a rowdy pro-Quinnipiac crowd about 60 miles north of the school's campus in Hamden.
The Bobcats were 10 of 31 from 3-point range after hitting 15 of 26 from behind the arc in last year's 85-78 second-round victory in Miami.
Quinnipiac: The Bobcats had six players in double figures. Aryn McClure filled the stat sheet with 13 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Brittany Martin chipped in with 11 points off the bench.
Miami: The Hurricanes are in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row for the first time in program history.
"Miami just has a way of doing things and we carried that mentality for four years, consistently," said Davenport. "It's a great opportunity and a great accolade."
INSIDE vs OUTSIDE
Miami outscored Quinnipiac in the paint 36-22 and outrebounded the Bobcats 40-32. But the Hurricanes got just two 3-point baskets on seven attempts. Quinnipiac also made 20 of its 25 shots from the foul line. Miami had 28 attempts from the charity stripe, but hit just 16 of them.
LUCK OF THE IRISH?
Thornton, who hails from Gurranabraher, Ireland, near Cork, said it was special for her to get a big win on St. Patrick's Day. Both her parents flew in for the game.
"I had to (win). We had to, because they traveled all the way, so we couldn't send them home without a win," she said. "Obviously we all wanted to win, but it was extra special to do it today."
Coach Meier said Thornton's play against the defense of Shaneese Bailey was the difference in the game.
"(Duke's) Lexie Brown and (Louisville's) Asia Durr got shut down by Shaneese Bailey. So that kid was very special tonight. And she's not one of the top-four kids we talked about on their scouting report."
Meier said Banks played despite being so ill that she did not leave the hotel before Saturday morning.
Quinnipiac takes on UConn, the tournament's top seed on Monday night. The Huskies beat Saint Francis (Pa.) 140-52 in the opening game. The two Connecticut teams have played just once before, a 117-20 UConn win back in December, 1998.